This story has been updated.
The Grand Ole Opry will begin celebrating its 95th Anniversary on Saturday, October 3rd, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, gathering for the country music institution’s 4,944th consecutive Saturday night broadcast. And for the first time since early March, the Grand Ole Opry will be inviting in audience members to participate in a limited capacity.
Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Terri Clark, and Lorrie Morgan will help usher in an entire month of special performances celebrating 95 years at the Opry, while 500 in-person attendees will be added to the 4,372-capacity Grand Ole Opry House under strict guidelines, bringing applause back to the presentation. Dierks Bentley will also be celebrating his 15th Anniversary as an Opry member Saturday night.
“With gratitude to the artists who have visited the Opry since March, staff members and partners who have ensured the Opry went on every Saturday, and a worldwide audience for tuning in over the past six months, we are so excited as we plan to welcome fans back to the Opry House,” says Dan Rogers, Opry vice president and executive producer. “So many loyal fans make plans early to be a part of our birthday weekend every year, and I am especially excited that many of those devoted familiar faces will be in the first in-house audience since late last winter.
The Opry’s Saturday night live feeds have been one of the most popular streaming events during the COVID-19 shutdown, ranking near the top of Pollstar’s charts of such events, averaging more than one million viewers each week. The Opry was also the only musical institution to continue (virtually) uninterrupted through the pandemic.
The celebration of the Opry’s 95th Anniversary will continue throughout the month of October, with the preliminary lineups for performances being:
October 10: “Opry Firsts”: Celebrating Opry debuts and other firsts on the Opry stage. Carly Pearce, Jeannie Seely, Josh Turner and more.
October 17: “95 Years of Great Opry Songs”: Celebrating top songs and those who wrote them. Bill Anderson, Brandy Clark, Chris Janson and more.
October 24: “Opry Goes Pink”: The Opry’s 12th Annual Show Marking the Fight Against Breast Cancer | Lauren Alaina, Little Big Town, Victoria Shaw and more
October 31: Clint Black, Steve Wariner
How To Watch
Fans can watch Saturday night’s (9-26) Opry presentation live via the embedded player below, on the new Circle Network via local affiliates of the expanding channel (check availability), on the Circle Network’s Facebook Page, or on The Circle Network’s YouTube page, or listen via WSM. The presentation begins at 7 p.m. Central.
Just this week, it was announced The Circle Network has partnered with the four biggest television streaming platforms—Roku, Samsung’s TV Plus, Vizio’s SmartCast, and the Comcast-owned Xumo—to offer the network to these subscribers as well.
Originally, the hour-long Opry segment each week on The Circle Network was meant to take performances from the numerous Opry shows during the week and assemble them into one recap. However when the pandemic cancelled the regular weekly Opry presentations and forced the Saturday evening show down to one hour, they decided to carry the entire hour live.
This story has been updated.